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Environmentalists point out risks of coal-fired power projects

Last update: 07:50 | 08/02/2018

VietNamNet Bridge - GreenID has  pointed out risks that Vietnam will face if it continues developing coal-fired power projects, quoting former US Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement at a recent conference that use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil for the next 20 years will put people’s lives at risk.


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The reliance on coal imports to satisfy energy needs will not only put a burden on the national trade balance, but also bring uncertainties. 

Vietnam began importing coal in 2016 and the import volume is predicted to increase to 20 million tons by 2020, worth $1 billion.

By 2030, in order to implement a national power development plan under which coal-fired power accounts for 53 percent of 572 TWh of electricity, the amount of money Vietnam would need to import coal would climb to $3-5 billion.

Regarding environmental risks, experts estimate that the dust emission volume would increase by 11 times, SO2 emission by seven times and NOx by four times over 2014. 

Regarding environmental risks, experts estimate that the dust emission volume would increase by 11 times, SO2 emission by seven times and NOx by four times over 2014.

The thermal power plants would need huge volume of water for cooling. 

If 60 coal-fired power plants throughout the country operate at the same time by 2030, Vietnam would become a colossal ‘steam bathing reservoir’, which may seriously affect the underwater ecosystem and damage aquaculture.

The threat will also come from ash and sludge to be produced during electricity generation, if Vietnam cannot find suitable treatment methods.

In the past, local people welcomed power plants in their localities because the projects would bring jobs. But now, they are worried because they fear their health will suffer.

Bac Lieu province has asked the government to cancel a coal-fired project in the province to ensure a clean environment for aquaculture.

Experts have warned that Vietnam may become a ‘technology landfill’ in the future as it is still following a strategy on coal-fired power development while the rest of the world is shifting to develop renewable energy. 

The countries developing renewable energy will try to export outdated coal-fired technologies to Vietnam.

Head of the Vietnamese Party Central Committee's Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh also said at the conference that Vietnam needs to use electricity from solar, wind, gas, and thermal power.

Meanwhile, Kerry said that many financial institutions are ending their investment in the production of electricity from coal. He said he has a strong belief that coal is not cheaper than solar energy, if counting the costs needed to run coal-fired plants.

A research project of GreenID found that if Vietnam prioritized renewable energy development and used energy effectively, it could cut 30,000 MW, or 25 coal-fired power plants. 


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